MSPB issues decision regarding timing of whistleblower protections
There are many government workers who report issues to their supervisors about various wrongdoings that they see while on the job. In many cases, these employees receive whistleblower protection status under federal employment laws. Despite these protections, some of the workers find themselves suffering some sort of adverse employment action, and need to pursue litigation against their employers due to the treatment they have received.
A recent decision issued by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) could have an impact on some federal employers with whistleblower claims. The case concerns an individual employed by the U.S. State Department. In 2008, the individual reported to his superiors that faulty body armor was being shipped with soldiers on their way to Iraq. After he made the statements, he was removed from his position.
The case then had a very complicated procedural history, with several different issues being examined in many different forums. The MSPB decision focused on the whistleblower statute, and when the protections granted by the law went into effect.
The employee claimed that the statute, which went into effect in 2012, applied retroactively, and would therefore apply to his specific situation. There were also questions about whether or not the employee had to report the issue to someone who had the authority to fix the problem.
When the MSPB issued its ruling, it held that the statute was designed to apply retroactively. It believed that Congress designed the rule to effectively override bad decisions that had been made before the law went into effect. The MSPB also declared that it was not necessary for the employee to report the issue to someone with control over the situation. There was enough evidence to show that the disclosure of this information about the faulty body armor contributed to the adverse employment act. The case was sent back to an administrative law judge to determine if the employee would be able to recover compensation.
If you are a federal employee and believe you have suffered due to an adverse action taken by your employer, you should speak to an experienced federal employment law attorney. These cases often involve very time-sensitive issues, and you need to discuss your situation as soon as possible.
Your attorney can conduct an investigation into the incident, and determine what options may be available to you. You will be able to ask any questions that you have, and receive answers that help you decide what you should do to protect your rights.
There may be many different components of your case. Your attorney can assist you at all levels of the process, allowing you to feel confident that you have someone on your side, looking out for your best interests.